Freezing temperatures means crawfish season pushed back

Frozen crawfish pond
Frozen crawfish pond

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - From roads to fountains, we've shown you plenty of things iced over for this week, but the crawfish ponds also fell victim to the hard freeze, and the timing couldn't be any worse.

At Hot Tails restaurant in New Roads, crawfish is the main attraction. They're on the menu and on the walls, but after this month's cold snap, they're hard to find on the plates.

"There's a big demand for them right now and we just can't supply it, and it's kind of aggravating for me because I love crawfish season. I love doing it, I love seeing people eat 'em. It's fun and we're just getting shut down," said Cody Carroll, owner of Hot Tails.

Fresh fish and other seafood help pick up the slack, but ahead of Superbowl weekend, the reigning king of Louisiana seafood is feeling the pinch.

"At this time last year we were boiling crawfish every day of the week. We were catching enough to supply ourselves every day of the week. Right now we're fishing twice a week, we're letting the ponds sit for two or three days and we're boiling one night a week," said Carroll.

Cody and Samantha Carroll not only run Hot Tails, they also fish their own ponds in Batchelor; ponds that froze over this week.

"The colder it is, they just can't move. You can actually stick your finger in them, they can't pinch you. They're just not strong. They're very weak. If they don't move that means they don't eat, they don't grow, they don't molt and it's just kind of a slow process," said Cody. "The cold just pushes the season back. Usually what happens is once it warms up it gets so out of control that it's hard to catch them fast enough. They get over-populated and they'll get small on you."

You can get them on a poboy, but expect to pay more for a sack.

"We had a party planned next weekend for about 100 people and to get crawfish for that party would be a lot of money, so we've had to cook something different," said Abra Alexander.

"Everybody's being really understanding with the weather conditions the way they presently are," said Samantha Carroll, owner of Hot Tails.

The Carrolls say to be patient and don't expect prices to drop until the weather warms up.

"This crawfish season might go a month longer than normal, who's to say, so it's all in waiting it out and getting back to normal," said Samantha Carroll.

WAFB checked with Tony's Seafood Friday afternoon, and boiled crawfish are selling for $5.49 per pound. There are no live crawfish in stock right now. Tony's said the cold weather has obviously had a big impact.

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